This small village on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean is located just 70km south of Dakar on the Petit Cote.
Popenguine is a member of Global Ecovillage Network of Senegal (GENSEN). It is known for its natural reserve, pristine sandy beach, and religious significance. It is also the weekend getaway for the President of Senegal, as the second presidential residence is located between Popenguine and the village of Ndayane.
The Natural Reserve of Popenguine is located to the south and was created in 1986 thanks in large part to the local women's group, RFPPN. It is the first and only reserve managed by the Park Service in partnership with the local women’s group. The woman’s group had the foresight to ensure the protection of the natural habitat before it could be destroyed by the locals in their search for wood for cooking. Through their efforts, the women were able to protect 2493 acres of the park in which a variety of plants, birds,and other animal species have been able to thrive. Due to their hard work, the Reserve is now the major draw for tourists.
Popenguine is also known for the sighting of the Black Madonna in the reserve. Due to this appearance, an annual pilgrimage to Popenguine takes place in which all the Christians in Senegal and nearby countries visit. The pilgrimage usually takes place around May/June for any tourists who are interested in witnessing this event.
Over the years, Popenguine has become a very cosmopolitan village. Popenguine is home to a famous Senegalese film director, a Ghanaian author, an internationally renown artist, and Ex-patriots from a variety of countries. Due to the uniqueness of the village, it has come to have all the amenities of a big city while still maintaining the charm and peacefulness of a small village.
Popenguine has also been properly sensibilized, thus, it is one of the few tourist villages in which the tourists are not constantly harrassed by the locals. You will rarely hear the locals asking you to give them money, water, or food. You will also rarely hear them call you "toubab" (white man). They will actually take the time to greet you and ask for your name. Senegal is the nation of Teranga (hospitality), and the citizens of Popenguine will ensure that tourist will leave believing it to be so.
The dominant ethnic group in this region is Sereer. The most prevalent languages heard in the village are Wolof, Sereer Safin, and French. There are a few locals who speak English as well.